I think that today is my first “bad” day at seminary.
It started out rather well. I woke up tired but functional. I made it to breakfast, ingested my usual yogurt and fruit breakfast, and made it to Old Testament class with minutes to spare. I did not, I’ll admit, read all that I was suppose to but I thought, who needs to read about the Assyrian legal codes when you’ve already read the Code of Hammurapi? In class, I took notes, paid attention, and participated during the small group and wider lecture section. I did what I was suppose to do.
After class, I headed to the library, completed my assigned OT reading (so, yes, I read the legal codes that have parallels in the Torah) and finished my Old Testament reading for Monday. I skipped chapel to run through some Hebrew flash cards, went to lunch, said hello to a member of my candidacy committee who was visiting campus, and was a peripherally participant to a conversation about baseball with Dr. Wengert. A new friend who I met through the church I am completing my field experience through was on campus for the day so I said hello and had a delightful conversation with her. I went back to my room, reviewed more Hebrew flash cards, realized that pronouns and some nouns were not my strength but felt confident that I knew 90% of the rest of the words and that I would do okay on the first Hebrew vocabulary quiz of the year. I can be quite a cocky son of a gun.
And, of course, the 10% I didn’t know were on the test and my not knowing those led me to forgetting quite a few I did know when my heart sank when I looked at the test. I’ll admit, after the exam (and through the next 2/3rds of lecture), I was ticked. It annoyed me to not do well on my first real ‘test’ at seminary. Sure, I’m taking this class pass/fail but, comeon, I want to do well. I have a reputation of being horrible with languages and failing at memorizing things (my inability to memorize the lyrics to my favorite songs is legendary in a five state radius) – I was hoping for a new start here!
But I did have hope. In only a few hours, I would be on the bus back to NYC and my beloved wife and our fellow cave dwellers known as the dog and the cat. We would be united again after the long week! I would be rejuvenated through the healing power of dog bites and cat scratches. Come Monday, Hebrew would meet its match. I would be victorious!
And then I realized, while at the bus station, that I had purchased the wrong bus ticket, from NYC to Philly rather than the other way around. And Bolt Bus’s computer was done. And they weren’t letting people buy tickets for the bus. Nor were they going to honor my mistake (like they use to). Nor would anyone who didn’t already have a ticket actually get on the bus. I was, for the moment, SOL.
But there is a happy ending to this “story”. The Megabus, for the first time since humans crawled out of the seregetdi and invented fast food, was leaving Philadelphia ON TIME. There it was, ready to be filled by the people who could not get on the Bolt Bus. My ark of salvation in the shape of a shiny blue bus with a yellow man painted on the side. I have heard of worse.
So, yes, my day really wasn’t that bad – just stressful and my head is swimming with the fact that I will be out of town next weekend and I have 3 papers due the following week. But I’ll be okay. And you know how I know that? Because I finally received my first real practical piece of education today at seminary that will serve me well while just being a part of the local Philly community. I know how to write “The Phillies” in biblical Hebrew now. But don’t tell the rest of Queens. They might stone me for mixing the wrong National League teams (but, I gotta say, Rockies4lyfe \m/).